Factors influencing the distribution of large mammals within a protected central African forest

Allard Blom a1p1p2c1, Robert van Zalinge a1, Ignas M.A. Heitkönig a1 and Herbert H.T. Prins a1
a1 Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University, Bornsesteeg 69, 6708 PD, Wagenigen, The Netherlands

Article author query
blom a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
van zalinge r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
heitkönig ima   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
prins hht   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


This paper presents the analyses of data obtained from eight permanent 20 km transects to determine the relative effect of local human populations and ecological factors on the distribution of large mammals within the Dzanga sector of the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and the adjacent area of the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Special Reserve in south-west Central African Republic. Principal component analysis indicated that human activities significantly influence the distribution of large mammals, even within this protected area. Distance from the village and the main road as well as the distance from secondary roads appeared to have the greatest influence. Elephants in particular were significantly less common in areas related to human use. Our study showed that poachers use roads, both primary and secondary, to penetrate into the National Park. Thus increasing anti-poaching efforts along these roads could be an effective protection measure.

(Received October 27 2003)
(Revised May 27 2004)
(Accepted December 17 2004)

Key Words: Central African Republic; Dzanga-Sangha; hunting; mammals; monitoring; protected areas.

c1 Correspondence: Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University, Bornsesteeg 69, 6708 PD, Wagenigen, The Netherlands. E-mail allard.blom@wwfus.org
p1 Present address: World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, DC, USA
p2 Also at: Dzanga-Sangha Project, World Wildlife Fund, B.P. 1053, Bangui, Central African Republic